Sometimes, when watching a film or reading a novel, you feel a burn of emotion deep inside your chest. Something that affects you so profoundly that it moves beyond being just a form of media. It is internalized and remembered forever.
Braid is one of those things. But it isn't just an example of art in gaming, it's a game full of pure genius as well.
The game, at first, comes off as a platformer. There are relatively little instances of hardcore platforming in the game, and they usually only serve as a medium to allow you to interact with the puzzle that you're dealing with. Make no mistake, this is a puzzle game at heart.
The puzzles here are incredibly good, and very well scaled from level to level. The first two levels are relatively easy and will only take you a few minutes, the third is a bit harder, and the last puzzles will make you feel like your brain is deflated. The amount of time that you'll have to put into each puzzle may be debilitating for some, but the sheer joy and pleasure of solving one overcomes any sense of stress that staring at your screen racking your brain may cause. These aren't just run of the mill puzzles, either. There are a number that are, in my mind, some of the best puzzles that I've ever seen in a game.
The art direction is beautiful. The backgrounds are watercolor constructed, they're vibrant and bright, and dark and brooding. The soundtrack is perfectly placed and flooded with beautiful violin work. Each are augmented by an incredibly written preface that comes prior to starting each level. The story is written so broadly and so metaphorically that it can literally be translated to represent whatever the player would like it to. The ending represents one of the epic twists in video game history, and does so in game -- a puzzle in itself.
I literally cannot think of one thing that I dislike about this game. It could be longer, but length can't really be expected from a game that costs so little.
There is so much value stuffed into the 10ish hours that you'll spend playing this game, it's hard to put it into words any other way than just to spout off the cliche of "buy it and experience it yourself". It's an experience to be had, and it's one of the most artistically beautiful exhibits in gaming history that is guaranteed to affect you in a most profound way.